Repair or Replace the Roof

To Replace or Not to Replace: The Roof is in Question …

“Is this a repair job or is it time for a new roof?” is a likely question when you notice a stain on your ceiling or walls, see water drip from above, or step in a puddle indoors when the dog’s been outside all morning.

Before we were in the home improvement business, our brand new neighbor’s living room ceiling sprung a leak around the light fixture. It happened four days after buying the 50-year-old ranch style home. John volunteered to take a look at their roof. He figured the flashing around the fireplace was the culprit because it was a problem for the previous owners. Since the leak was at least eight feet from the hearth, the new homeowners couldn’t be convinced the water was likely running down the angled trusses and coming in at the first opening. They called a roofer who was happy to replace the seven-year-old roof.

Other neighbors, not so anxious to spend thousands of dollars, gladly let John take a look at their leaky roofs. The most common problem is a leak originating from a place where the roof butts up against something like a vent fan, skylight or chimney. Sometimes a tree limb that constantly rubs the roof will scrape off a shingle, or wind from a storm may blow off several. Leaks also occur when a rusty nail or two pop up and leave just enough of a hole to let rainwater drip down to stain the ceiling.

None of these isolated problems call for a roof replacement. Flashing can be difficult to seal tight but it is doable. Shingles can be replaced. Tar around a rusty nail will close the hole and stop the leak.

For standard asphalt shingles, replacement is recommended when a roof is nearing 15 to 20 years old. Other materials may last longer. The lifespan depends on the roofing material and the climate. If the environment is harsh, it can shorten a roof’s duration. Winds, as well as winters with ice and snow, do damage.

Even if the warranty is for longer there are some telltale signs that point to replacing the roof anyway. Roofing concerns usually show up on the inside first by way of dark spots on the ceiling, drips and puddles. Bubbled paint and wallpaper on upper interior walls most likely indicate a leaky roof. And water damage and discoloration of the attic boards are dead giveaways to a roofing problem somewhere up there. When inside warnings appear in several different places and repeat themselves, it’s time to look around outside to make a decision about putting on a new roof.

Exterior signs that the roof may need to be replaced include cracked, curling and decaying shingles, shingles covered in algae, and ones that are faded looking. Bowed shingles usually have underneath them rusty nails that have pushed up over time and indicate a roof on its way out.

It’s easier to make a choice about whether to repair or replace by determining the approximate age of the roof and looking for the above indicators to evaluate the roof’s condition. These steps will help in making an informed decision when you decide to do the work yourself or call an experienced contractor/roofer.

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For more information and a free consultation, call SCI – Southern Coast Improvements at 843-421-9255.




April 16th, 2012  in Tips and Tricks of the Trade Comments Off

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